Saturday, June 10, 2017

Novels Inspired by Video Games and Gaming Culture by Meg Eden

Novels Inspired by Video Games and Gaming Culture

When writing my novel Post-High School Reality Quest, I was really interested in translating the things I loved about video games and gaming culture onto the page. But as I looked at my bookshelf and in my local bookstore, I felt strangely un-categorizable. There’s not exactly a genre for video game lit, is there? Where was I supposed to find fellow gaming nerd books? For a while, I didn’t even know about any other books that explored games and gaming culture. But I’m excited to share some of the books that I’ve discovered that explore gaming in the past, present and future through both realism and science fiction.

Now That We’re Adults by Lynn

A group of geeky 20-somethings in Scranton, PA, struggle to form post-college identities without alienating each other in the process.

When happy-go-lucky Wade is dumped by his longtime girlfriend, he's left to wonder whether she might have a point about his lack of ambition. Needing a distraction from the heartbreak, he begins programming a video game, which soon becomes a passion project as he strives to prove he can follow through on his own.

Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff

It is Labor Day weekend in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and boy and girl collide on a dark street at two thirty in the morning: Lesh, who wears black, listens to metal, and plays MMOs; Svetlana, who embroiders her skirts, listens to Björk and Berlioz, and dungeon masters her own RPG. They should pick themselves up, continue on their way, and never talk to each other again.
But they don't.
This is a story of the roles we all play—at school, at home, online, and with our friends—and the one person who might be able to show us who we are underneath it all.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the  OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

Cure for the Common Universe by Christian Heidecker

Sixteen-year-old Jaxon is being committed to video game rehab…ten minutes after meeting a girl. A living, breathing girl named Serena, who not only laughed at his jokes but actually kinda sorta seemed excited when she agreed to go out with him.

Jaxon’s first date. Ever.

In rehab, Jaxon can’t blast his way through galaxies to reach her. He can’t slash through armies to kiss her sweet lips. Instead, he has four days to earn one million points by learning real-life skills. And he’ll do whatever it takes—lie, cheat, steal, even learn how to cross-stitch—in order to make it to his date.

Warcross by Marie Lu

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down Warcross players who bet on the game illegally. 

Omegaball by Robert J. Peterson

Omegaball is the story of a teenage quadriplegic genius named Laurie Everett. She's been confined to a wheelchair since birth, so she escapes her real life in a massive virtual realm called the Darknet, where she's a superstar Omegaball player.

Kat and Meg Conquer the World by Anna Priemaza

Kat and Meg couldn’t be more different. Kat’s anxiety makes it hard for her to talk to people. Meg hates being alone, but her ADHD keeps pushing people away. But when the two girls are thrown together for a year-long science project, they discover they do have one thing in common: They’re both obsessed with the same online gaming star and his hilarious videos.

It might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship—if they don’t kill each other first.


Meg Eden teaches creative writing at the University of Maryland. Her novel "Post-High School Reality Quest” explores transitioning from high school and coping with change through the form of a classic text adventure game. Find her online at or on Twitter at @ConfusedNarwhal.

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